Marriage: Utah’s No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood PovertyHow the Collapse of Marriage Hurts Children and Three Steps to Reverse the Damage A Heritage Foundation Book of Charts • 2012 Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society
Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Utah, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Utah’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 25% When the federal government’sWar on Poverty began in 1964,only 1.9 percent of children in 20%Utah were born out of wedlock. 19.2%However, over the next fourdecades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, 19.2 percent of births in 15%Utah occurred outside of marriage. 10%Note: Initiated by President LyndonJohnson in 1964, the War on Povertyled to the creation of more than three 5%dozen welfare programs to aid poorpersons. Government has spent $16.7trillion on means-tested aid to the poorsince 1964. 0%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Statistics. Chart 1 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Death of Marriage in Utah, 1929–2010 The marital birth rate—the PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN TO MARRIED COUPLESpercentage of all births that occurto married parents—is the ﬂip side 100%of the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Through most of the 20th cen-tury, marital births were the norm 95%in Utah. In 1964, over 98 percentof births occurred to marriedcouples. However, in the mid-1960s the 90%marital birth rate began to fallsteadily. By 2010, only 80.8 per-cent of births in Utah occurred tomarried couples. 85% 80.8% 80%Note: In any given year, the sum of theout-of-wedlock birth rate (Chart 1)and the marital birth rate (Chart 2)equals 100 percent of all births. 75%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Statistics. Chart 2 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
In Utah, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Poverty by 82 Percent The rapid rise in out-of- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORwedlock childbearing is a major 40%cause of high levels of child pov-erty in Utah. Some 30.5 percent of singlemothers with children are poor 30.5% 30%compared to 5.5 percent of mar-ried couples with children. Single-parent families withchildren are nearly six times more 20%likely to be poor than families inwhich the parents are married. The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due bothto the lower education levels of 10%the mothers and the lower income 5.5%due to the absence of the father. 0% Single-Parent, Married,Two-Parent Female-Headed Families FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Over One-Fifth of All Families with Children in Utah Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout four in every ﬁve familieswith children in Utah. Around onein ﬁve are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 20.6% Married Families 79.4%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
In Utah, 55 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Utah, over half are notmarried. By contrast, 45.5 percentof poor families with children areheaded by married couples. Married Unmarried Families Families 45.5% 54.5%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
In Utah, Few Unwed Births Occur to Teenagers Out-of-wedlock births are often PERCENTAGE OF OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSconfused erroneously with teen BY AGE OF MOTHERbirths, but only 8.9 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Utah Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 76 percent of 8.9%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 15.5% Age 18–19: 16.1% Age 25–29: 22.7% Age 20–24: 36.8%Note: Figures have been rounded.Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS data. Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Less-Educated Women in Utah Are More Likely to Give BirthOutside Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs most PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALfrequently among the women who OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwill have the greatest difﬁculty sup- 100%porting children by themselves: those 8.1% Unmarriedwith low levels of education. 90% Mothers In the U.S., among women who 80% 42%are high school dropouts, about 65.2percent of all births occur outside 54.5% 70%marriage. Among women who have 65.2%only a high school diploma, well over 60% Married 91.8%half of all births occur outside mar- Mothersriage. By contrast, among women 50%with at least a college degree, only 40%8.1 percent of births are out of wed- 58%lock. 30% 45.5%Note: Specific data on out-of-wedlock 20%births and maternal education are not 34.8%available in Utah. However, the pattern 10%varies little between states. Utah datawill be very similar to the national data 0%presented in this chart. High School High School Some College Mother’sSource: U.S. Department of Health and Dropout Graduate College Graduate educationHuman Services, Centers for Disease (0–11 (12 (13–15 (16+ levelControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Years) Years) Years) Years)data. Chart 7 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effective in ReducingChild Poverty in Utah The poverty rate of married PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families bycouples with children is dramati- WITH CHILDREN THAT Single Education and Marital Statuscally lower than the rate for ARE POOR Married of the Head of Householdhouseholds headed by single 50%parents. This is true even whenthe married couple is compared to 43.6%single parents with the same edu- 40%cation level. For example, in Utah, the pov- 30.7%erty rate for a single mother who 30%has only a high school diploma is 23.3%30.7 percent, but the poverty ratefor a married couple family 20% 18.2% 16.7%headed by an individual who,similarly, has only a high school 10%degree is far lower at 7.7 percent. 7.7% 5.8% On average, marriage drops the 2.5%poverty rate by about 73 percent 0%among families with the same High School High School Some Collegeeducation level. Dropout Graduate College GraduateSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American Note: Virtually none of the heads of families in the chart who are high schoolCommunity Survey, 2005–2009 data. dropouts are minor teenagers. Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Utah Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% In 2008, 20.4 percent of birthsin Utah occurred outside marriage. 8.3%The rate was lowest among 70% 66.2%non-Hispanic whites. In this grouparound one in eight (13.6 percent) 60%were born outside marriage. Among Asians, nearly one in 45.8% 47.7% 50%ﬁve children were born out ofwedlock. Among Hispanics, 45.8 40%percent of births were out ofwedlock. Among blacks, nearlyhalf of all births were to unmarried 30%women. The rate was highest 20.4% 18.8%among American Indian women. 20%In this group, two-thirds of births 13.6%were non-marital. 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Asian Hispanic Black AmericanControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non- Indiandata. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Utah In Utah in 2008, some 76.8 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 17 percentoccurred to Hispanics, 3.2 percentoccurred to Asians, and 1.2 percentwere to American Indian women. Because Hispanics, American 76.8% White 51.1%Indians, and blacks are more likely to Non-Hispanichave children without being married,they account for a disproportionatelylarger share of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the majority ofunwed births still occur to whitenon-Hispanic women. In Utah in 2008, 51.1 percent of allnon-marital births were to 38.2%non-Hispanic whites, 38.2 percentwere to Hispanic women, 4 percent 17% Hispanicwere to American Indians, and 3 Asian/Pacific 3%percent were to Asian women. 3.2% Islander 1.2% American Indian 4.0% 1.0% Black Non-Hispanic 2.3%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0.8% Not Stated 1.4%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Six Times More Likely to Be Poorin Utah Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, AmericanIndians, and Hispanics. 25% For example, in 2009, the pov-erty rate for married white families 20.2%in Utah was 3.4 percent. But thepoverty rate for non-married white 20%families was six times higher at20.2 percent. 15% 10% 5% 3.4% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Over Four Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Utah In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Utah was8 percent, while the poverty rate 33.9% 35%for non-married black families wasfour times higher at 33.9 percent. 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 8% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Three Times More Likely to Be Poorin Utah In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Utahwas 12.6 percent, while the pov- 38.1% 40%erty rate among non-marriedfamilies was over three timeshigher at 38.1 percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 12.6% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Non-Married American Indian Families Are Nearly Four TimesMore Likely to Be Poor in Utah In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORAmerican Indian married familiesin Utah was 12 percent, while the 50%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was over almost four 42.4%times higher at 42.4 percent. 40% 30% 20% 12% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Utah heritage.org
Three Steps to Reduce Child Poverty through Marriage1) Provide information on the beneﬁts of marriage in reducing child poverty and improving child well-being. Marriage is a highly effective institution which greatly decreases parental and child poverty while improving long-term outcomes for children. Conversely, the absence of marriage greatly increases welfare costs and imposes added burdens on taxpayers. Unfortunately, almost no information on these topics is available in low-income communities. This information deﬁcit should be corrected in the following manner: • Explain the beneﬁts of marriage in middle and high schools with a high proportion of at-risk youth; • Create public education campaigns in low-income communities on the beneﬁts of marriage; and, • Require federally funded birth control clinics to provide information on the beneﬁts of marriage and the skills needed to develop stable families to interested low-income clients.2) Reduce anti-marriage penalties in means-tested welfare programs.3) Promote life-goal-planning, marriage-strengthening, and divorce-reduction programs to increase healthy marriages and reduce divorce and separation.
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